Hello, Is it Me You're Rooting For?

Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

As we count down the days to a sort of big sporting event, I wonder which other teams (if any) hold a place in your/our collective hearts. Why do we root for the teams we do? And who can we bond with during the off-season through our favorite basketball, football, soccer, hockey or Olympic team?

Sports. It's weird, you know, to explain your love of sports to someone who doesn't get it or share that passion. It's easy to bond with sports fans. "Hey, I like the Oakland Athletics, you like the Boston Celtics. We both have a shared passion for a sports team, even in different sports in different cities! Cool!" Try explaining that to someone who likes, oh let's say, opera. Trust me, not the same.

If you're doing it right, loving sports; living sports, is like being in a relationship. You invest the same amount of time, if not more, you spend money, you have dates, you know everything about them and still want to know more, you have fights, you make up, you love them unconditionally, but man, can they break your heart and drive you mad. And unless you can make non-sports fans believe you actually are in a relationship with your sports team of choice, they will always, always think you are crazy. And maybe you are.

Game 4 of the playoffs last year (and I meant Game 4; I was numb by Game 5) was as painful for me as a breakup. Is that a terrible thing to admit? I was destroyed driving home from Game 5 in 2012, and staring at the TV after Game 4 in 2013, and don't think it's much of a stretch to compare that feeling to someone telling you that a relationship is over. The playoffs broke up with the A's, and it felt just like you would expect. It's been almost four months, and you're just getting back into dating, "Hey, Spring Training, sure, I'll go to a game or two. No pressure; I kind of just got out of something..."

So, while the A's and I are on a break, every few years I have a two-week affair with the Olympics, I casually date the Warriors, although sometimes I think I might want more, now that they have a bonafide starting All-Star straight out of NBA Jam (He's on fire!), and myboyfriendDavidLee. The 49ers and I are the childhood friends that always seemed destined to be together if no one else was in the way, and I love them dearly. Their most recent loss felt like a gut punch, but one you know you'll survive. But the A's? The A's are my soulmate; that one true love that you will never get over, never stop loving, and will always have the power to break your heart, even as you tell yourself you can't--won't--care as much anymore. The A's have been a part of my life through junior high and high school homework at the Coliseum, to listening to a playoff game on the radio during my drivers' test, to headphones under the hoodie in late May in English class, to birthday and engagement parties in suites, to amazing tailgates thrown by amazing friends to celebrate life events, to the fireworks show after the game a scant 14 hours before I eloped. Every October eventually ends in tears, and every April the A's manage to play a game that pulls you right back in, wondering if this, could this, be the year where the off-season is nothing more than an extended party? Hello, 2014. The loyalty runs deep. I've lived in Los Angeles since 1999, some 15 years, and while I consider it my real home, and always will, my heart still belongs to the Bay Area sports teams.

So let's hear it! Who are your other sports teams? Why are you an A's fan? Have you always been, or is it a new relationship? Do you root for teams in your home city? And if you had to rank them; who comes out as your number one team?

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